The slaying of more than 40 wild dogs in the Loliondo Game Controlled Area, on the eastern border of Serengeti National Park, is currently under investigation by Ngorongoro district authorities. According to reports, people living in the area are alleged to have carried out the killing in reaction to the loss of livestock to the animals. Villagers complained to journalists that 157 of their goats and four of their cows had fallen prey to wild dogs. The dogs were apparently burned alive in the caves in which they reside, near the villages of Kertalo and Orkiu, when the perpetrators lit fires in the caves and blocked the entrances with rocks, trapping the animals inside.
This is not the first time wild dogs have been slain by people in the area. In 2007, 25 dogs were poisoned, and there have been sporadic killings in the years since then.
African wild dogs are critically endangered, with an estimated total population of around 5,000. Tanzania is thought to be home to about 20% of the surviving population, so it is considered an important bastion for the species. This sad incident is another reminder that when wild animals and humans come into conflict, the animals usually lose.